The use of the sea is increasing in areas such as industrial, commercial transportation and sports. It is difficult to quantify the total value of the world maritime industry, and the economic relevance of a sector that affects a wide range of aspects of modern societies and their development. The need to understand the global ecosystems and environment, as well as their necessary conservation, to find the more efficient mechanisms to deal with phenomena such as climate change, ecosystem disruption, deforestation, depletion of the ozone layer or and rising sea levels have made research and study of the maritime environment a high priority issue. One of the areas of greatest current concern is the marine pollution by hydrocarbons such as control oil spills from ships. The major spills of crude oil and its products in the sea occur during their transport by oil tankers, loading and unloading operations, blowouts, etc. (Fig. 1). When introduced in the marine environment the oil goes through a variety of transformation involving physical, chemical and biological processes. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.
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